LIVES CAN BE SAVED IF INDUSTRY WORKS TOGETHER

By NZHJ June 14, 2019 Industry news

The construction industry needs to work as one to tackle mental health issues, says Site Safe CEO.

The release last month at the Safeguard conference of a report into suicides of construction industry workers has highlighted the need for all parts of the industry to work together to support the mental health of workers.

Brett Murray, Chief Executive of Site Safe (left), says the report showed that, while there is no single cause, there are common factors that the industry can work on, including work and financial stresses and physical injuries.

He says Site Safe is working to develop a mental health and wellbeing strategy based on the findings of the report, which studied coroner reports from 2007-2017.

“To lose 300 people to suicide in our industry over 10 years is devastating. It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for their workers and this includes protecting physical and mental wellbeing."

The workplace pressures mentioned in coroners’ reports included:

  • Job insecurity or uncertainty
  • Stress related to running a business
  • Pressure to deliver under deadlines
  • Juggling responsibilities
  • Dealing with an injury or illness affecting the ability to work

One in eight (13%) of all cases listing workplace pressures included experiences of job insecurity.

Notably, people who were self-employed or business owners (11.3% of all cases) were twice as likely to have been affected by work-related factors than employees.

Brett Murray says the report aims to help industry, government, and the public understand the risk factors and pressures that can contribute to suicide in the construction industry.

 “Suicide prevention is something for all New Zealanders to work on, but the most effective suicide prevention initiatives are tailored to the environments and cultures of people at risk.

“In the case of the construction industry, pilots of programmes in New Zealand and Australia have found that initiatives targeted at people who work in the construction industry can prevent suicide and improve mental health and wellbeing.”

The report was researched and written by Dr Kate Bryson, Janette Doblas, Dr Christopher Stachowski and Andy Walmsley.

It was co-funded through the building research levy by the Building Research Association (BRANZ) and Site Safe.

For more information about suicide prevention, please visit www.mentalhealth.org.nz/suicideprevention

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